THE BOY IN THE BOX
On February 25th 1957 Frederick Benosis a college student, reported finding a nude body of what appeared to be a young boy aged between 4 to 6 in a cardboard box, wrapped in a blanket. He waited a day before reporting this to the police as he was in the area spying on young woman at the good shepherd school. However, this wasn’t the first discovery of the young boy. Two days before the discovery of the young boy a man spotted the body when he was checking on his muskrat traps in the area. The man knew his traps were illegal so he made the decision on not to inform the police.
The local media were obsessed with this case, and very curious. Pictures of this young boy were put all over the place, including flyers, posters and gas bills.
The identity of the boy is still unsolved. The boy in the box was described as having blue eyes, fair complexion and medium to light brown hair. He had big bruises which covered most of his body and face. Professionals speculated that due to the cold weather the child may have been in that box from 2-3 days to 2-3 weeks!
Police were also certain that someone would report a missing child or that the photographs going around would be spotted by someone who knew the child. This never happened. Nobody had reported a missing child that had matched this description and from the many leads that presented themselves all came as inconclusive. Investigators focused on the baby bassinet box that the boy was found in. It was one of 12 sold by a JC Penny store in Upper Darby. All but one were traced back to their owners. Even the boy’s fingerprints and footprints came up negative when they were compared to a national database and local hospital records. No one knows who abused him or killed him, primarily because he couldn’t be identified. Even when they compared his footprints and fingerprints to hospital records, police couldn’t find a match. It was as if this child just appeared out of nowhere, with no family to be found.
Crucial evidence found
- The boy’s hair was crudely cut and located throughout his body, indicating it was cut while he was deceased and naked or immediately before he died.
- His hands and feet were wrinkled indicating they were submerged in water for an extended time just before or after he died.
- The child may have had a chronic eye ailment
- He had not eaten 2-3 hours before death.
- The faded cheap flannel blanket he was wrapped in was made in either North Carolina or Quebec, Canada. It was also massed produced and shipped to multiple locations.
- His esophagus contained a dark, brown residue, possibly indicating he vomited shortly before death.
- He was severely malnourished.
- Cause of death was multiple blows to the head.
The young boy was buried in a potters field next to Mechanicsville and Dunks Ferry Rd, the tombstone simply read “Heavenly Father, Bless This Unknown Boy”.
Eventually, the boy’s body was exhumed in 1998 and mitochondrial DNA was extracted from his tooth. Efforts are currently underway to link this child to a relative by scanning it through a database. However, the mitochondrial DNA sequence is too small to produce a conclusive match with anyone.
On 11 November 1998, the boy was reburied in a donated coffin at the Ivy Hill Cemetery and a website was launched to keep this boy’s memory alive and to help generate new leads. The website is America’s Unknown Child.
According to some investigators at the time of the mysterious death of the boy in the box might have to do with a very poorly run foster care system. They might not be wrong, either. During the 1950s, the foster system wasn’t very good at keeping track of which children lived where. Susquehanna Road was remarkably close to a small foster home which housed children from single, unwed mothers. In 1993, Remington Bristow, a criminal investigator, asked a NJ psychic where the child was killed. The psychic took Bristow directly to the foster home.
Inside the foster home was a bassinet — the exact model that was sold in the box the boy was discovered in. Similar flannel blankets were also found in the home, and Bristow believes that the boy belonged to the stepdaughter of the man who lived in the house.She may have killed her child to avoid being outed as a single mother in a time when unwed mothers were stigmatized and shunned in polite society. Bristow himself believes that the mysterious death of the boy in the box was accidental in nature, or perhaps, a crime of a woman who felt cornered.Despite the strong circumstantial evidence, no official tie to the child was found.
The strongest lead occurred in May 2002, when a businesswoman (known as “M”) from Cincinnati, OH, claimed her mother purchased the boy from his parents in 1954. They named the boy Jonathan. He was regularly abused and housed in the basement. He was described as being handicapped and could not speak. “M” claimed her mother killed him in February 1957 in a fit of rage by throwing him down on the floor after he vomited in the bathtub after eating baked beans. Investigators thought this was the lead they were looking for to finally solve the case. However, after six months of attempting to corroborate her story, it was determined that “M” had a history of mental problems and none of the information she passed could be proven.
However this case still remains open, with the hope that someday this case can be solved.
What do you think?
This is the first post in my Halloween series, I’m posting everyday until the 31st. Let me know if theres anything you would like to see!